The Editor’s Eye: What Makes Research Stand Out for Asian Journal of Communication

We interviewed Andina Dwifatma, a Ph.D. candidate and author, and Editor Professor Ang Peng Hwa, to get their insights on the perceptions and nuances of religion for women in Indonesia.

In this interview, we speak with Professor Ang Peng Hwa, Editor of Asian Journal of Communication, who published Andina Dwifatma’s article ‘Cadar Garis Lucu’ and the mediated political subjectivity of Muslim women in Indonesia

We find out more about what exactly drew Prof. Ang to Andina’s research for it to make a permanent home in Asian Journal of Communication. We also discover the topics he would love to see more submissions of and details on his day-to-day role.

Can you introduce yourself, give us a brief description about who you are, and where you are based in the world.

I am Peng Hwa Ang, a professor at Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  

What led you to become an Editor of Asian Journal of Communication, and could you briefly share what your day-to-day role as an editor entails?    

Following the retirement of our esteemed colleague, Xiaoming Hao, who served as the previous Editor, I was honoured to be next in line as Editor-in-Chief. Being an Editor of a journal is undoubtedly a demanding role, requiring significant dedication. Editors diligently attend to the responsibilities that come with the position. But Asian Journal of Communication has a larger social mission of being a significant voice in Asia for communication research.  

My role mainly consists of vetting manuscripts. Approximately 80% of submitted manuscripts undergo a desk-rejection process. The remaining 20% that meet the initial criteria are then forwarded to an Associate Editor for further evaluation. Occasionally, an Associate Editor may choose to reject a manuscript without initiating the formal review process, as they may identify critical issues that were previously overlooked. This thorough screening process ensures that only the most promising and suitable manuscripts proceed for further consideration. 

Once the manuscripts undergo the review process and are returned, a comprehensive examination is conducted. A final decision is then made, either to recommend revisions or to reject the submission. It is important to note that academia tends to uphold conservative practices. In instances where the reviews yield a mixed verdict, such as one suggesting revision and another advocating for rejection, the default tendency is typically to lean towards the more conservative position, resulting in a decision to reject the manuscript.  

Professor Ang Peng Hwa
Professor Ang Peng Hwa

Is there a particular topic or area of study that you look forward to seeing more submissions of? 

The Asian Journal of Communication (AJC) focuses on communication within Asia, offering a valuable regional perspective. To enrich this focus, we encourage submissions that explore communication through the lens of both Eastern and Western viewpoints. Not to claim that one is superior over the other, but to build a more rounded, more complete picture of communication science. 

Much of the research from psychology in the West are based on surveys and experiments conducted on American university students. Many of these findings unravel when applied to broader contexts. AJC is keen to publish works that challenge established ideas, ultimately leading to a more robust communication theory. 

    What was it about Andina’s article that appealed to you most? What made it a good fit for the journal? 

    Andina’s article aligns well as it effectively brings attention to the contradictions and paradoxes inherent in understanding the relationship between how Islam is being perceived and communicated. For instance, she describes herself as a “secular Muslim.” In this context, she is not referring to atheism, as is commonly associated with secularism. Rather, she uses the term to in the context of a more open social environment. Similarly, CGL members who choose to have their face veiled does not mean they are necessarily Muslims who are highly conservative in their thinking and life approach. The larger communication audience needs to appreciate such nuances among Muslims. 

    In today’s globalized world, how have modern communication tools influenced our approach to complex topics like religious issues and created an equal platform for open discussions? 

    Whenever a new communication tool has been invented, it is often thought that it would lead to greater understanding through education, and therefore to greater peace. You see this in the history of the telegram, the radio, television and for us, in the early days of the Internet. In each of these cases, however, we can also see how the inventions can be weaponised. 

    Communication tools therefore are, for want of a better phrase, a two-edged sword. (Unfortunately, even that metaphor has a weapon—which goes to show how easily we wield weapons.)  I strongly believe that research has an influential role in fostering opportunities for greater understanding of our human condition and our world. I therefore welcome the rise of Islamic communication research. 

    What advice would you give to early career researchers who are just starting out in this field? 

    In Asia, many recent PhD graduates are placed into administrative positions, resulting in a constant shortage of qualified individuals. The demanding nature of administrative duties often diverts energy away from creative endeavors. I highly recommend that early career researchers prioritize their research and postpone taking on administrative responsibilities for as long as feasible, ideally until they receive promotions and tenure. 

    I would also advise early career researchers to hone their networking and collaborative skills. This can help leverage your opportunities in research productivity.  

      Andina Dwifatma

      Want to hear from the researcher herself?

      We interviewed Andina Dwifatma, a Ph.D. candidate and author of ‘Cadar Garis Lucu’ and the political subjectivity of Muslim women in Indonesia, to find out more about her article. Her work spotlights on Cadar Gadis Lucu (CGL) – a feminist niqabi community and focuses on reframing the perceptions of Muslim women in Indonesia.

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